Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Children of gay fathers are as well adjusted as those with heterosexual parents, rubbishy study says

More pseudo-scientific garbage.  These studies are so poorly done that one gets the impression that they are afraid to do a real study.  Once again, the "researchers" did not even see the children, let alone assess them in any way. To summarize, they just asked the "parents":  "Is your kid OK?"  And the "parents" --  surprise, surprise -- replied "Sure".  What else would they say?

Despite criticisms from traditionalists that same-sex parents can cause problems for their children, a new study adds to a growing body of evidence to suggest gay parents needn't worry.

The study, 'Experiences of Children with Gay Fathers,' was conducted via an online survey, receiving responses from 732 gay fathers in 47 states.

Participants responded to the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which includes questions about children's well-being, such as academic achievement, self-esteem and peer relationships.

Around 88 per cent of the study respondents said it was 'not true' that their child is unhappy or depressed, compared with 87 per cent of the comparative sample.

Similarly, 72 per cent of participants responded that their child does not 'worry a lot,' compared with 75 per cent of the general population.

According to the study, 36 per cent of their children had been born in the context of a heterosexual relationship, 38 percent by adopting or fostering children, and 14 per cent with the assistance of a surrogate carrier.

Many of the fathers described having encountered barriers to sharing custody of their children (33 per cent), to adopt a child (41 per cent) or to become a father through a surrogate carrier (18 per cent).

In addition, between 20 and 30 per cent of respondents reported stigmatising experiences because of being a gay father, primarily from family members, friend, and some people in religious contexts.

One-third of parents reported their children had been subjected to teasing, bullying or other stigmatizing experiences by friends.

Lead author Dr Ellen Perrin said that despite these barriers, there is a growing number of children whose parents are gay, reflecting a rapidly changing legal and social climate for prospective gay and lesbian parents.

She cites the 2015 Supreme Court decision affirming the right to same-sex marriage, for example, as well as increased access to alternative reproductive technologies and adoption for openly gay individuals or couples.

'Our data add to those of other investigators showing that children of same-sex parents do as well in every way as children whose parents are heterosexual,' said Dr Perrin. 

It's estimated there are 690,000 same-sex couples living in the United States and that 19 per cent of such couples and lesbian, gay or bisexual individuals are raising children under the age of 18.

There is growing acceptance of different-sex parents, as portrayed in the 2010 film The Kids are All Right, in which Julianne Moore and Annette Bening play committed lesbian parents.


Multiculturalist who poured bleach on his puppy and burned it alive in crate sentenced to three years and eight months in prison

A 21-year-old California man was sentenced on Friday to three years and eight months in prison for burning his eight-week old Chihuahua puppy alive in 2015.

Willie Bee Turner of Sacramento was found guilty of the heinous crime on March 3. In January 2015, when the tan puppy, which Turner had named Angel Star, defecated on his friend's floor, Turner doused the helpless animal in bleach and tossed her off a balcony. The puppy miraculously survived.

The next night, he locked the puppy in a portable kennel and set the animal on fire on the sidewalk outside a Masonic Lodge on Becerra Way near Marconi Avenue, burning her alive, according to the Sacramento Bee.

A driver passing by saw the blaze and called 911 - horrified firefighters found the puppy's charred remains.

Turner was arrested in February after tips from the outraged public led to his whereabouts.

In addition to his three years and eight months prison sentence, Turner cannot own a pet for 10 years and he will be registered as a lifetime arson offender and can no longer own or possess a firearm.

Court Judge Lawrence Brown, who sentenced Turner to the max allowable under state guidelines, was clearly horrified at the convicted man's actions.  'There is a darkness in the defendant,' said the judge, who mentioned taking his own dog out for a walk that morning.

Deputy District Attorney Hilary Bagley, who prosecuted the crime, said the sentence was 'piddly' and noted Turner's statement to the court, in which he said he will 'take responsibility for the things he did not do.'

Bagley said that 'significant introspection' was needed for a crime of that nature if the convicted is to enter back into society. 'Clearly, that hasn't happened,' she said.

Animal advocate Jennifer Canady, who devotedly attended Turner's court appearances, told the Sacramento Bee: 'The results of this grotesque case of cruelty – the outcome of three years, eight months for the tossing off a balcony, dousing with bleach and the setting of this monster’s puppy on fire hardly does justice to this little life.'

Legislators have had difficulty trying to extend the terms for animal abusers. Republican State Sen. Jeff Stone, who represents Riverside County, recently lost a bid to double the sentences for animal cruelty crimes.


UK: Number of hate crimes against Jews soars as report says anti-semitism is at the 'core' of far-Left beliefs

The number of hate crimes against Jews in Britain has reached a shocking new high, campaigners warn today.

An alarming new report shows that police forces recorded almost 1,000 anti-Semitic offences in 2015 – a 25 per cent rise on the previous year.

Violent attacks on Jews soared by 50 per cent and yet there was a worrying decline in the number of cases where suspects were charged.

Campaigners fear the worrying trend is being driven by Islamists, neo-Nazis and far-Left activists and students, who use social media to share sickening images similar to those seen in Nazi Germany.

In one shocking case, a mob shouting ‘Kill the Jews’ stormed a synagogue in Stamford Hill, North London, smashing windows and attacking worshippers.

The report says that there has been a ‘growth in anti-Semitism as a core part of far-Left’ ideology. The findings come as the Labour Party is gripped by anti-Semitism allegations: MP Naz Shah and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone have both been suspended in the past week, and an internal investigation has been set up by beleaguered party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Last night, Gideon Falter, chairman of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, which published the report, said: ‘This data should alarm those responsible for enforcing the law. They are failing British Jews badly.

‘If the situation continues to deteriorate, the Jewish community will be faced with the kind of rampant anti-Semitism seen in other European countries, which has left Jews feeling fearful and abandoned, and many of them convinced that they have no choice but to emigrate.’

He added: ‘Britain’s fight against anti-Semitism and extremism cannot be allowed to fail.’

The charity asked every force in Britain how many anti-Semitic incidents and crimes they had recorded in each month of 2014 and 2015, as well as the number that involved violence, and the proportion that led to prosecutions.

Only 13.6 per cent of incidents led to charges in 2015.


Conservatives love to hate political correctness, but the left should rail against it too

Gay Alcorn, a Leftist journalist, argues below for civil debate over political issues.  She may even mean it. Leftists are normally civil only to those who agree with them, so a call for civility from them is usually a demand to agree with them.  The surname Alcorn is strongly associated with the Methodist church in Australia so, if she is one of those, that may have softened her attitude

By far the most insightful person on Australia’s Q&A program this week was the Catholic theologian and philosopher John Haldane. He took complicated and charged questions and tried to make sense of them. In doing so, he spoke of something critical in a liberal democracy, something we are at risk of losing – the idea of “reasonable disagreement” on controversial issues.

“People who hold contrary views on these matters are neither stupid nor wicked,” he said. “In the US, conservatives tend to think of liberals as being bad people, immoral people, but liberals think of conservatives as if they are stupid.” The answer was not moral relativism, or a failure to make decisions, but “civic friendship” in the way we discuss these issues.

“We’ve got to keep the conversation open.”

I am wary of religious doctrine whatever the faith. Religions have a history of intolerance and there is a remarkable lack of self-awareness by those who complain it is now the religious who are being silenced on debates such as same sex marriage.

Yet Haldane identified a trend that is no longer a fringe tendency in Australia and in many parts of the western world. Labeling people who have an unpopular view as somehow intrinsically bad or immoral, declaring such views as intolerable even to hold, is now a big part of our culture and is having an impact on our conversations and our politics.

This is not just about religious conservatives feeling that their views, while not silenced, are so ridiculed and personalised that few feel comfortable expressing them. It is just as prevalent in the attempts to silence or attack those who identity as progressives but who may have sent an insensitive tweet, or hold a view that transgresses the orthodoxy of the moment.

For many supposed progressives, disagreement must now be accompanied by a personal attack against someone who doesn’t deserve a say because of who they are, not for what they believe.

I support same sex marriage, yet am deeply uncomfortable with the assumption that anyone with reservations must be a bigot and a homophobe. That is the level of the debate in Australia, and it is championed by so-called “progressives”, who display with glee the same intolerance they rightly accuse churches as historically holding.

It is an insidious tendency because of course progressives should stand up for greater levels of equality and for the human rights of the marginalised and disadvantaged. But to do so by devaluing free speech and thought on the grounds of championing the aggrieved is a betrayal of progressive politics in a fundamental way.

It has not been helped by our well-meaning discrimination laws, which have endorsed and encouraged the view that being “offended” should be unlawful. The very idea debases notion that debate, ideas, and openness to complexity is the way to make progress.

It is a symptom of what’s gone wrong that the Tasmanian anti-discrimination commission deemed the Catholic Church had a case to answer for its booklet opposing same sex marriage on the grounds that it could offend, humiliate or insult same sex couples and their children. To be offended and insulted is distressing, but nobody should be legally protected against it in a democracy, even on a highly emotional issue such as this.

The insistence on personalising disagreement is pervasive.

Actor and writer Stephen Fry has apologised for a few sentences he uttered at the end of a long and fascinating interview in the United States. The irony of this little incident gives it a poignancy beyond the familiar pattern: someone says something that deliberately or accidentally offends people, who declare their hurt and anger, demanding the person is sacked from their job or at least be publicly shamed. The targeted one, sometimes famous, sometimes not, says “up yours”, or more likely grovels an apology, perhaps deleting their social media account to crawl into a hole for a time.

Fry’s was just one example, but it was so telling that he was shamed when the entire purpose of his interview was to discuss the so-called “regressive left”. What happened to Fry was exactly what he was talking about – to be pilloried by the left for something he said that was certainly insensitive, but hardly worth the vehemence of the reaction.

More broadly, he was talking about the phenomenon of people identifying with the progressive side of politics being so intolerant of views deemed unacceptable, especially regarding anything to do with race, gender, sexual identity and religion.

Fry appeared on The Rubin Report, a program that regularly scrutinises this phenomenon. Host David Rubin is convinced that the regressive left is the equivalent of America’s Tea Party – dangerous for progressive politics, whose purpose should be to champion reason and debate to achieve greater equality and improve human rights. “If we don’t have the courage to stop them, then a year or two from now we’ll wonder why our system is screwed up even more than it is now,” says Rubin, who thinks of himself as a progressive.

I don’t think Rubin is overstating the dangers of declaring certain thoughts and speech unacceptable. Although, as Fry would say, it’s complicated.

In the 11-and-a-half-minute interview, Fry mused about all this in his erudite, amusing and slightly pompous way, and said he feared that “the advances of the Enlightenment are being systematically and deliberately pushed back” – the idea of free thinking, open societies not ruled by churches or “enforced thinking”.

“Enforced thinking” was prevalent because “life is complicated and nobody wants to believe that life is complicated, this is the problem. You might call it infantilism of our culture”. The example he gave was the campaign, ultimately unsuccessful, by some students who demanded Oxford University remove a statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oriel College.

Rhodes was a student at Oxford and left money to provide a prestigious scholarship. He was also undoubtedly an imperialist with a belief in the racial superiority of Anglo Saxons. Even in his own time, his views were considered extreme by many.

For outspoken students, a Rhodes’ statue should not grace a university where minority students already felt intimidated – it was offensive to them and a sign that Oxford had failed to come to terms with its past. Pulling down monuments to people who do not have views acceptable in our own age would keep all of us busy for many years, yet the students made a valid point – who would not understand why Confederate flags in the US are so deeply offensive to African Americans?

Fry’s view was that the student campaign was an example of a tendency to declare someone good or bad, full stop. “To remove his statue strikes me as being stupid,” he said. “The way to fight colonialism and the ideas behind it is not to pull down statues. It’s to reveal, to say who he is … look at him, occasionally throw an egg on it.” How very old-fashioned of him to argue that free speech and argument can expose repellent views, that it isn’t necessary to erase them from history, to “unperson” them.

Fry went on to discuss the movement particularly on American campuses to ban people from speaking who might offend or “trigger” deep feelings in some students because of their experiences or their identity as a minority. “There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape. To say the word rape is to rape,” Fry said.

Rapes are “terrible things and they have to be thought about clearly”.

“But if say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, or you can’t read it in a Shakespeare class or you can’t read Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, and it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry. It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place – you get some of my sympathy – but your self pity gets none of my sympathy…. The irony is we’ll feel sorry for you, if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just grow up.”

I know what he meant, but Fry expressed that woefully. In the context of all that had gone before, he was not saying that victims of sexual abuse should just “grow up”. He was trying to say – clumsily – that if you’re a woman, or a victim of sexual assault, or a racial minority for that matter or a transgender or homosexual or all the other signifiers of identity politics – your personal feelings and experiences are not enough to censor other views, to restrict free speech.

There are real examples of sexism and racism and of course they need challenging. And nobody pretends free speech is absolute. In many ways, I love the fiery pushback from people who have indeed been, and still are to varying degrees, marginalised in a culture that privileges the white middle class heterosexual man. Yet the words “racist” “misogynist”, “homophobe” and “bigot” are so routinely bandied about now they have lost their power.

The cry of “shame” at something someone said or did, the social media pile on, perhaps wouldn’t matter too much except that its impact is to stop people being honest about what they think for fear of being attacked by the mob. Not just that. It’s an insistence that people who hold such views are morally bad.

Many people now roll their eyes at feminist Germaine Greer, but recently on Q&A she refused to be bowed, and there was something brave about it.

It is a sign of human progress that transgender people at least in parts of the West are far more visible and that discrimination against them is being acknowledged and starting to be addressed. Yet as hurtful as it must be for the trans community, I don’t think Greer is alone in questioning the insistence that, somehow, Caitlyn Jenner was always a woman, even at birth.

Did anyone else groan when Glamour Magazine named the famous trans woman its “woman of the year”, or when Jenner declared the hardest thing about being female “figuring out what to wear”?

These are hard issues to raise, and it’s an old feminist debate, but Greer doesn’t accept that men who identify as women are women. She hits a nerve when she says in her outrageous way that, “I don’t believe a woman is a man without a cock”. Call her transphobic if you like, but better to loudly present the arguments why she’s wrong, or just ignore her.

But the outraged don’t want that – last year, Greer faced a campaign by campus feminists to ban her from speaking at a university about a different subject because of her “transphobic” views. Feminists are tied up in knots with intersectionality and understandably want to support marginalised women. But trying to shut down dissenting or offensive views is another kind of intolerance.

And so what happened to dear old Stephen Fry, a homosexual and bipolar sufferer who has fought hard against intolerance and discrimination? The symbiotic relationship between the mainstream media and social media makes the trajectory predictable. A few people were “outraged” on Twitter about Fry’s remarks about victims of sexual abuse. And so the Telegraph in London had a story: “Stephen Fry tells sex abuse victims to ‘grow up’ prompting social media outrage.”

That’s the story – social media outrage. I am sick of reading stories that begin “Twitter was outraged” but it’s obvious why it’s become routine. Conventional media, as well as platforms like Facebook, need drama to achieve online traffic.

“There is a toxic relationship between mainstream media and social media,” said Jon Ronson in an interview recently. Ronson’s book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, chronicles how lives can be ruined by social media humiliation. “To begin with old media just ignored Twitter,” he said. “Then it tried to emasculate it by doing ‘the 50 best tweeters’ pieces, trying to control it ... and then what happened was that mainstream media began to bow to Twitter’s agenda setting.”

So Fry was fried, but surely nothing he said in his interview justified the ugliness of some of the response.

The right loves all this stuff. Conservatives rail against “political correctness” but have little commitment to social justice or addressing structural inequality. Yet progressives should rail against it too, much more strongly than they are now. Because it’s not progressive in any way. The censors of the left may have the best of intentions, but too often, they’re just another bunch of reactionaries.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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